Receptionists serve as the unofficial face of any organization. By definition, they’re often the first person a visitor meets in person or speaks to over the phone. Needless to say, this first point of contact is incredibly important. It’s often the first impression people get of your company.
That puts a lot of pressure on the receptionist. While a smile can go a long way, the work these professionals do goes beyond mere greetings. It’s essential they have the receptionist skills necessary to help keep the business running smoothly. Customer service expectations evolve every year, and keeping up with those demands can be a full-time job in itself. Whether you’re in the market for a new receptionist or are a professional looking for work in this exciting line of work, it’s a good idea to brush up on the duties and skills required for such a position.
Skills Businesses Need in a Receptionist
Communication skills are the bread and butter of any quality receptionist. They’re constantly interacting with people via phone, email, or face-to-face. On an average day, this person will liaise between customers, staff, and a range of departments. They’re tasked with taking down messages – anything lost in the passing along of said messages may reflect poorly on the entire organization. Effective, clear communication is among the most important receptionist skills.
Organization also counts for a lot. In terms of skills for receptionists, this is perhaps the most highly valued colleagues. Receptionists are often required to create efficient filing systems, sort paperwork and contacts, and ensure that software is updated regularly. A good receptionist can pull up documents, phone numbers, and other important pieces of information at the drop of a hat. They must also maintain a clutter-free workspace.
Customer service skills are incredibly important to this role as well. The way a receptionist interacts with customers reflects the entire organization. A rude receptionist may cause a client to think badly of the company, while a pleasant receptionist may spur someone to recommend the business to a friend. The goal of providing stellar customer service is to create customer satisfaction while generating repeat business.
Sharpen Your People Skills
If you’re hoping to refine the receptionist skills mentioned above, it’s best to start with your interpersonal abilities. A great receptionist should bring a positive outlook to every work day. While that’s often easier said than done, it’s possible to teach yourself to be positive. Remind yourself every day of the things you love about your life and your job. If you’re struggling with a personal matter, try setting those emotions aside until after work. When stressed about work issues, try to find the silver lining and build upon it.
Showing genuine interest in colleagues and customers can also help improve your front desk receptionist skills. You work in lockstep with these folks for eight hours a day; it’s natural that you’ll learn a thing or two about their lives. Make an effort to get to know what’s important to your co-workers and clients. This can help solidify relationships and build trust. Conversely, it’s important to learn how to be politely assertive. Get comfortable in your abilities and opinions, and don’t be afraid to express your concerns as well as your limitations.
Become a Better Listener
The best virtual receptionists practice active listening skills on the daily – they listen more than they speak. Though this sounds counterintuitive, these professionals must work to understand exactly why someone is calling and how best to assist them. Active listening is the conscious act of hearing not only the words someone is saying, but the overall message they’re trying to convey. This means tuning into tone, expressions, body language, and really listening instead of just waiting for your turn to talk.
While active listening can be challenging, practice makes perfect. The next time you’re finding it hard to concentrate on what someone is saying, try repeating their words mentally as they say them. This reinforces their message, helping you to stay focused. Soon enough, these skills become second nature, improving your overall receptionist job skills.
Learn New Job Skills
While stellar communication skills are indeed some of the most important qualities of a receptionist, those hoping to refine their skills should be open to learning new things, too. Receptionists are increasingly asked to master a wide range of software applications to manage calendars and inbound calls. It’s okay not to have a complete mastery of every program used by a given employer, a good receptionist is open to learning the ropes. In many cases, professional receptionists are required to provide tier one tech support to callers, so it’s smart to get comfortable with your technology skills and provide a baseline level of help.
Some receptionists go even further in their aim to master new skills. As America grows increasingly diverse, the demand for multilingual professionals is skyrocketing. Customers of all backgrounds deserve the opportunity to communicate clearly and effectively. If an organization fails to employ bilingual receptionists, callers may have no choice but to take their business elsewhere. Quality customer experiences start with a clear understanding of the caller’s needs. If your organization is hoping to meet a wide range of customers, the skills needed for a receptionist must reflect the growing demographic shift happening in our country.
Work With the Very Best Virtual Receptionists
If you’re hoping to work alongside the best virtual receptionists in the business, a partnership with MAP Communications may be in the cards. Our highly-trained virtual receptionists possess the skills, qualities, and traits necessary to deliver consistent, high-quality customer experiences with every ring of the telephone. If you lack the time, money, or skill to grow these traits in your existing staff, virtual receptionists can come aboard quickly, supplementing your current administrative efforts. We can work alongside your staff or, if you’re a team of one, take the place of a full administrative team.
Learn more about our virtual receptionists and the impact we can have on your organization.